If all goes according to plan, David Dinsmore will look back at the week before Christmas as one of the turning points in his diving career.
In a seven-day span, the New Albany High School junior won the synchronized diving 10-meter title at the USA Diving Winter National Championships in Austin, Texas, earned a berth for the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) World Cup in July in Shanghai and qualified for the Youth Olympic Games qualifier in 10-meter diving as well as FINA Grand Prix events later this year.
"It was the first time so much was at stake," said Dinsmore, who competed for the Ohio State Diving Club. "When I went to Texas, my goal was to qualify for all three (the World Cup, Youth Olympic qualifier and FINA Grand Prix events). Everything was on the table. Staying relaxed was a big factor, and I was able to do that. At the same time, I was excited to see what I could do."
On Dec. 16, Dinsmore scored 557.15 points to win the boys 10-meter platform title and earn his way to the Youth Olympic Games qualifier Feb. 28-March 2 in Guadalajara, Mexico. He scored 91.8 points on a reverse 3.5 tuck and performed a back arm-stand double with a 2.5 twist -- his most difficult endeavor -- for 73.8 points. Both were new dives for Dinsmore.
Five days later, Dinsmore won the synchronized 10-meter title with Steele Johnson. They scored 823.77 points for their second such championship as a team.
On Dec. 22, Dinsmore placed second in 10-meter diving, scoring 1,240.6 points to finish behind Johnson (1,469.7).
A top-nine finish in Guadalajara would advance Dinsmore to the Youth Olympic Games from Aug. 16-28 in Nanjing, China.
Dinsmore also earned the chance to compete in FINA Grand Prix meets, including events in Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico. He is unsure of which of those meets he will attend.
On top of that, he also was elected to serve as one of six USA Diving athlete representatives for 2014-15.
Dinsmore is unsure whether he will get the chance to compete in the Division I state meet for the third consecutive year. The diving competition is scheduled for Feb. 20, but Dinsmore -- who was eighth at state as a freshman and fourth last year -- said he hasn't received an itinerary for the Youth Olympic Games qualifier.
Regardless of whether Dinsmore makes the state meet, he further ensconced himself in New Albany's record book Jan. 4. He scored 544.1 points in a home meet that day, breaking his previous record of 538.45.
"I'd love to be able to get back to state," said Dinsmore, who led last year's competition until the final few dives. "We'll see how everything works out."
Swimmers heading to meet in Canton
According to swimming coach Dave Wharton, more than 20 boys and girls swimmers are expected to participate in the Northeast Classic on Saturday, Jan. 11, at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
"Between relays and individuals, we're going to have quite a big group up there," Wharton said. "We don't travel a lot because teams like to come to our pool, but this is the state meet pool and we want our kids to see what life could be like if they work hard enough and are able to get that far."
Branin Natatorium will play host to the state meet from Feb. 19-22. Swimmers must meet time standards to participate in the Northeast Classic.
The Eagles resumed their season Jan. 7 at home against Dublin Jerome, their first competition since the NEK Pancreatic Cancer Crush on Dec. 14. Blake Bergere won the 50-yard butterfly and 50 freestyle to pace New Albany, whose teams combined for seven runner-up finishes.
"We're still going hard. We haven't been rested at all for meets," Wharton said. "That's always our plan. If you're resting all along, you don't give them much ability to rest at the end of the year, when they need to. You want them to be fully conditioned and give everything they can starting for the championship meets."
Wrestlers prepare for league season
The wrestling team had a solid day in its last warm-up for the OCC-Capital Division season, going 4-1 in the six-team Johnstown Duals on Dec. 28.
New Albany defeated Johns-town (42-19), Chillicothe Southeastern (42-36), Brook-haven (52-18) and Zanesville West Muskingum (42-27) before losing to Utica 77-3 in the championship match.
The Eagles begin league competition Thursday, Jan. 9, at home against Big Walnut and Olentangy Orange. They also will wrestle Mount Vernon and host Olentangy on Jan. 16 before taking part in the first round of the state team tournament Jan. 22.
According to the OHSAA, tournament brackets were scheduled to be released this week.